Rolling with the punches at the Denver Roller Dolls derby bout
posted by: Lori Holden
A couple of Saturdays ago, I, PrincessDIE!, and my husband, Osama bin Skatin, took our children on a family date night. Where did we find good, clean fun?
At the Denver Roller Dolls matchup of the championship-defending Bad Apples and the challenging Green Barrettes. (Disclaimer: children are free, and the Denver Roller Dolls comped us two tickets valued at $20 each.)
I was greeted by Kendra Blood of the Green Barrettes, also the PR babe of the league (she’s put together a fantastic website, and you may also follow the league on Twitter). Kendra arranged for me to interview Primal Rage, the “Most Feared Skater” of the league and blocker for the Green Barrettes’ nemesis, the Bad Apples.
Thanks to my Facebook and Twitter peeps, I had some questions ready.
For instance, I found out that the the practice schedule is pretty intense — 4 regular practices a week for 2 hours each. The season runs January through October.
I found out that Roller Derby does, indeed, serve as an outlet for aggression, and that Primal Rage feels it balances out her real life emotions.
I found out that the one item that makes Primal Rage feel girlie is her fishnet stockings, and the items that make her feel tough are her pads. “Putting on my pads says to me, ‘OK. Now it’s time to go hurt somebody.'”
How did Primal Rage come to be a Derby Doll? She was looking for a way to lose weight when her mom found an ad for tryouts. Although she hadn’t been on skates for 14 years and she didn’t know anyone else who was doing roller derby, she went to the tryout and ended up as one of the league’s first members, back in 2005. “I’d always been kind of alternative and fringe, so this suited me well.”
Her advice to skater wannabes? “Don’t compare yourself to other skaters. Just develop your own style.”
Mine would be meek. (And, apparently, I’d have to learn the meaning of the word “fist.”)
Although there was an air of “alternative” and “fringe” we found equal parts of mainstream. Sure, there were the groupies that plopped themselves down on the floor, right on the edge of the rink. If tattoos, piercings and wildly colored hair are still considered alternative, then yes, there was fringe. But there was also a group of frat boys sitting on and around the rinkside “Couch of Doom.” In addition, there were families — lots of them, including our very own Mile High Mama, Gretchen, who attended with her husband and their brood of seven (click to read about her night of Derby).
And compared to other spectator sports? Roller Derby is upclose and personal. There is nothing other than etiquette keeping the fans off the rink. Well, maybe a little fear.
So, what to do if you’d like a slice of the Derby life?
- The final bout of the season is on October 24, and it’s for the league championship between the Bad Apples and the Shotgun Betties. Click on over for ticket information.
- The Denver Dolls have qualified for and will compete in the Declaration of Derby November 13-15 in Philly. Support their trip to the City of Sisterly Shove by donating to the Denver Dolls’ travel fund. Or else.
- Sweet Action Ice Cream is offering a limited edition Denver Roller Doll-inspired ice cream flavor called Black & Blue (vanilla ice cream with fudge and blueberry swirls).
- See the new movie Whip It, starring Ellen Page (Juno) and directed by Drew Barrymore. Osama and I are planning a date night around it. And the ice cream.
- Read up on the rules of the game.
- Finally, just enjoy the fun and power of coming up with your own Derby name.
A final word on Derby names.
They ROCK! Witness these: Dharma Gedden, Fonda Payne, Eva Doom. Even the non-players get in on the act: Announcers Brad Example and Evel Con Evel, Referees Loren Order and Scott Free, and Paramedic Vlad the Repairer.
So take part in this little Mile High Mamas challenge. What would YOUR Derby name be? Take your time if you have to, think about it, and come back to comment.
Or I’ll send Primal Rage after you.